Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Pumpkin carving

Yesterday, we carved pumpkins. I have lots of pics of this fun activity but since the kids are in them, I will only post what they looked like at the end. I am so grateful to the parents that came in to help with this activity! Just as a note, the parents were the only ones allowed to touch the knives. I know some of you were worried about that so I thought I would put an end to your fears :) The students pulled out the seeds and pulp. They also worked together in pairs to decide how they wanted their pumpkin carved. Some needed adult help to know what could be carved and what was not possible. The students then separated the seeds from the pulp while the parent carved the face. In case you are wondering, both this year and last year, the boys were grossed out by putting their hand in the pumpkin. I even had one throw up this year! The girls had no problems! 

Here they are outside my door. 

We kept each pumpkins' seeds separate. I took them home and cleaned them all. I kept out three of the pumpkins' seeds for us to count today. The rest I cooked. I made one set with salt, one with garlic salt, and one with cinnamon and sugar. The students then got to taste them today. 

Counting the seeds is a BIG project. The students need help figuring out a way to count them in a reasonable way. We learn about place value with this project. The students make sets of 10 and combine 10 of those to make 100. Here is what they looked like when they were done: 

We then held up the pumpkins and had the other students guess how many seeds there were in each pumpkin. The students guessed outrageously. They also thought that the smaller the pumpkin, the less the seeds. This is not always the case. It has to do with how old the pumpkin is when it is picked. In this case it worked out that the smaller one had the least, however it only had 15 less then the medium sized one which was quite a bit larger. Here are the pumpkins with the papers. 

This last picture is of all three of them together so you can get a better idea. (Ignore the mess on my table in the background) 

This was a fun activity but it does take awhile and really teaches what tens and hundreds means. Several of my students wanted to guess what ten was and put that many in a group without counting but then their numbers were off and they would have to go fix them. I did this whole group last year and it was easier. However, I did prefer doing smaller groups because the students were more involved and therefor got more out of the experience. 

After having the students count, it is fun to read this book (below). It is about a class that counts pumpkin seeds. It also explains why sometimes smaller pumpkins have more seeds then bigger pumpkins. My students really enjoy the book. 

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